There is a wonderful children’s storybook I used to read to my daughter called Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman. It tells the story of a little bird that hatches while its mother is out looking for food. Having no idea who its mother is, it sets out to find her, asking every animal it meets, “Are you my mother?”
The quest for finding the right mentor has been a similar journey for me. Like that little bird, I continuously found myself wondering, Are you my mentor?
When I started my network marketing career in 2009 I was told to start reading. I ordered Jordan Adler’s Beach Money and Don Failla’s The 45-Second Presentation. Both books opened the door to a world I had no idea existed, a world of knowledge and insight that left me thirsty for more.
As I continued to educate myself by listening to CDs and attending events, I heard people talk about the benefits of having a mentor—a trusted counselor or guide. Being an athlete, this made sense to me: I was used to having a coach help me develop my talents and reach my highest potential. A mentor serves a similar purpose. Because of their experience, mentors provide insights and guidance into areas we want to grow in.
Mentors can appear in many ways. Perhaps you relate well to certain authors; you like their ideas and implement what you learn into your business. Other mentors may be leaders in your organization you feel drawn to and whose success you want to emulate.
At some point you may seek out a mentor for one-on-one coaching—someone you heard speak, a leader you respect, someone you’ve met at an event and resonate with. Some mentors may offer their advice for free, while others charge a fee for their services.
Finding a Mentor
When I got started in my business, I turned to my sponsor for mentoring. I learned by listening and watching, mirrored what he did, and soon achieved successes similar to his.
Three years into my business, I decided I was ready to hire a coach outside my company, someone who could help me reach my higher goals and become a better leader.
Here are a few tips I learned for finding your trusted guide:
A Few Caveats
When I first looked for a mentor, I made the mistake of reaching out to people I admired but who didn’t have network marketing experience. They were leaders in their own right but had no knowledge in the area I wanted to grow in.
This continued until one day I was invited to participate in a mastermind group with some truly dynamic women from different network marketing companies. I now had a chance to interact with others who had years of experience in network marketing and who had achieved the level of success I aspired to, in the same domain within which I was working.
This mastermind group became a turning point in my quest. It turned out we communicated far more effectively than I had done with my previous mentors. There was a sense of support, cooperation, and collaboration I had never experienced before.
From that group, I went on to hire one of these women as my mentor and coach. In our sessions, we were able to roll up our sleeves together and create powerful ideas that transformed my business. In the short period we worked together, my income doubled and there were more rank advancements on my team than we had ever seen before.
I believe this could not have happened had I tried to go it alone. This kind of external support is something we all need as we grow in our business and in life.
I’ve had both men and women as mentors, and I’ve discovered they are uniquely different. While the men were confident and efficient at helping me move from point A to point B, the women provided a sense of community, passion, insight, creativity, and spirit that fulfilled me along my journey.
In our profession there are many powerful female role models, and I believe they are easily overlooked, because we traditionally see more men on stage at network marketing events and men tend to promote themselves more as generic trainers. Whether you are a man or a woman, I recommend you seek counsel from both genders so you can learn to balance the masculine and feminine sides of leadership.
Unlike the little bird in the storybook that finds its one and only true mother back at the nest, I have found that there are many teachers and mentors who have much to offer me as I continue to grow.
At first I thought I needed to settle on one person as my pillar. Eventually I came to realize that there will be many along the way. One of my greatest joys in life is to know there is always more to learn and there are many inspiring leaders to tap into.
“Are you my mentor?” is a question I will never stop asking.
KIMMY EVERETT has been a professional
network marketer for almost four years
and is a top earner in her company.